RACETRACK TRAGEDY: Volunteer Killed By Flying Debris

Richard Welch, 45, was hit in the head with a piece of flying debris after a crash at the State Fairgrounds Speedway Friday night.

Welch, a man of few words, loved to talk cars. For 26 years worked at Watters Autoland in Indianola.

“He was just constantly going; always doing something. You never had to tell him do anything. He`d just see something that needed fixed and or repaired or needed done, he did it,” says owner, Jerry Watters.

Watters choked up as he called him an irreplaceable employee. His racing friends feel the same way. Morgan Nelson referred to him as the “backbone” of the Warren County Speedway.

She says he volunteered to build and maintain tracts at 4 local speedways, including the track at the fairgrounds.

“He just always loved hearing from the drivers afterwards that it was a great track and it was fast and it was smooth. That`s all he wanted to hear. He just wanted to make the drivers happy,” says Nelson.

Welch served as a racing official at Friday night’s race when he was killed.

DNS racing promoter, Darin Nelson, explains officials stand amongst cars traveling close to 80 mph potentially putting them in danger. He says Friday’s accident will spur questions to officials about additional safety measures tracks may have to take.

“You can have all the safety factors in the world but something always can slip through the crack it seems like.”

Welch lived in Winterset and was not married. The warren county speedway is planning a memorial at the racetrack in the coming days.

9 comments

  • Wendy Widebottom

    How do you stop people from getting injured or killed at race tracks? You close them.

    • Justice

      Wendy, I was raised by this motto…If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

    • Saul

      Remember you can get killed by falling and cracking your head on a wet surface at your bathroom, or driving to the race or driving back from the race, accidents happen in every single sport specially the ones where speed is a factor.

  • Jeff Baker

    I see Wendy is not a race fan and has a very one sided view . Why cant they put up a catch fence for the officals to stand behind. Wendy should also know that Iowa is In the top five for # of dirt race tracks in the nation. People from around the country come to Boone for some of the best racing in the nation

  • Pitlover

    I was there when this happened. It was such a horrific tragedy. My prayers are with “bones” family and friends.

  • Justice

    I didn’t know this guy, nor do I follow racing. However, My heart goes out to his family, friends and all of the racing fans. I have no doubt that he was a great guy loved by many.

  • Bob Browneye

    I’m goin to stand out by a bunch of speeding cars driven by a bunch of rednecks. Makes alot of sence to me.

  • John

    In Toronto Ontario Canada a race official died when he was struck on the back of his head by flying debris from an accident near the end of the race. Safety was looked at then too. The official was exactly where he was supposed to be, he was looking in the direction he was supposed to be looking and yet he was killed from behind.

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